Top 10 Games of the Wolves' Regular Season
This was a historic season for the Wolves. The team had two All-Stars, a new franchise-record for points in a game, their first playoff appearance since 2004, and most importantly, a ton of wins. We’re counting down the Wolves’ best games from the 2017-18 season. Here we go!
10. Wolves at Heat (125-122 OT), 10/30/17
We start our countdown with a tone-setting early-season road win. The Wolves’ overtime tilt against Miami featured a great all-around team performance and some incredibly clutch play from Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague. The Wolves’ new starting point guard, in particular, exhibited his ability to take over games, turning in an incredible stretch performance and scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead his team to a win. Teague had 11 assists as well.
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) October 30, 2017
The Wolves also gained some significant experience in overtime games, which would pay off down the line.
9. Clippers at Wolves (123-109), 3/20/18
While everyone loves an exciting game, sometimes the best wins are the ones that come a little easier. At the end of March, the Wolves were struggling to string wins together in the absence of Jimmy Butler. Their victory over the Clippers got the team back on the right track heading into the final stretch of the season. The win was also crucial from a standings perspective—the Clippers were fighting to make the playoffs, likely at the expense of the Wolves. Minnesota’s victory was key in making sure that didn’t happen.
8. Jazz at Wolves (100-97), 10/20/17
The Wolves and the Jazz are going to be going at each other for a very long time. Minnesota’s divisional rival is another up and coming team in the league, and there’s no love lost between the two squads, who met in four hotly contested games this season.
On the Wolves end, the highlight of those games came in their home opener. Jamal Crawford hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 28 seconds left in the contest, and the Wolves christened the newly-renovated Target Center in style.
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) October 21, 2017
7. Blazers at Wolves (108-107), 12/18/17
Look at this game in a vacuum and it’s a classic. Jimmy Butler hung 37 points on the Blazers’ backcourt, and the Wolves came back to win by one point at home, outscoring Portland 32-22 in the final quarter. However, when you look at where this game fell in the Wolves’ season it takes on even more importance.
Take a look back at last night's battle back over the Blazers at Target Center with this Mini Movie.
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) December 19, 2017
After beating Portland, the Wolves went on a five-game winning streak and won 12 of their next 15 games (including two crucial victories over the Nuggets) in what was probably their best stretch of the season. The Wolves’ play in late December and early January set the tone for the rest of their season.
6. Wolves at Lakers (113-96), 4/6/18
Late in their season, the Wolves were in a must-win situation. They had dropped two in a row to divisional opponents Utah and Denver and were in danger of falling out of the postseason. They needed a win, and they got one.
This game also marked the return of Jimmy Butler, whose physical and athletic play caused the franchise to let out a collective sigh of relief. He scored 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting and added four steals. This defensive edge was crucial for the Wolves. They went on to win all their remaining regular-season games and make the playoffs.
JIMMY HOW?!?!?!? pic.twitter.com/DA8w2ITduL
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 7, 2018
5. Hawks at Wolves (126-114), 3/28/18
Wolves fans who watched this game won’t soon forget it, and for one single reason: Karl. Anthony. Towns. We’ve known what Towns is capable of for some time, but to see his potential unleashed was truly incredible. Towns scored a franchise-record 56 points on 59.4-percent shooting that included six made three-pointers. Towns scored from every area of the floor and rendered his defenders totally helpless. In this game, Towns, who is still only 22 years old, showed us what he could become. While there were more important games in terms of the Wolves’ playoff hunt, Wolves fans who were lucky enough to see this game will remember it for years to come.
— NBA (@NBA) March 29, 2018
4. Wolves at Thunder (113-115), 10/22/17
On the topic of memorable games, the Wolves’ October victory over the Thunder was an absolute classic. This time, it was a different player that provided the highlights: Wiggins. The shot that will be remembered is his deep three at the buzzer, but Wiggins was dominant all the way down the stretch as well, scoring seven of the Wolves’ last nine points. He finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) October 23, 2017
3. Nuggets at Wolves (128-125 OT), 12/27/17
The Wolves beat the Nuggets three times this season, and two of those games are on this list. There’s a reason for that. The two teams played each other tooth and nail this season. It’s fitting that they ended up meeting for a chance to go to the playoffs, but more on that later… Though the teams were not yet aware of the stakes of this game, the Wolves and Nuggets’ December meeting ended up having just as much on an impact on their respective playoff hunts as the deciding game in April. Seeing how this one went down, you’d think the two teams knew that this was a significant one.
.@JimmyButler was CLUTCH last night.
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) December 28, 2017
Butler was the star of the show, going off for 39 points including 12 in overtime. The Nuggets had a chance to tie the game at the end of overtime, but Trey Lyles (defended by Wiggins) missed a three, and a Crawford jumper with under a minute left ended up being the deciding bucket.
2. Warriors at Wolves (109-103), 3/11/18
Anytime you beat the defending champs, it’s a good story, but this win also could not have come at a better time. The Wolves had lost three in a row and it seemed like they were struggling to find their footing with Butler sidelined. But watching the team play the Warriors, you never would have guessed it.
Anyone up for a replay?
Cool, us too.
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 11, 2018
Perhaps sensing the game’s importance, the Target Center crowd was absolutely wild. Minnesota’s young stars responded, turning in one of their best games of the season against stiff competition. Towns scored 31 and grabbed 16 rebounds against 2017 Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, and Wiggins added 23 points on 56-percent shooting. Though Kevin Durant scored 39, the Wolves defense contained the rest of the Warriors players and held Golden State to just 19 points in the fourth quarter, delivering the win for Minnesota.
1. Nuggets at Wolves (112-106 OT), 4/11/18
This was the big one, the win that ended Minnesota’s 14-year playoff drought. There really weren’t any other serious candidates for the Wolves’ best win of the year. With everything on the line, the Wolves delivered in the biggest way possible.
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 12, 2018
The game featured insane clutch play from both Denver and Minnesota, another monster Towns double-double, perhaps the defensive play of the year from Taj Gibson on Nikola Jokic at the end of regulation, and a complete lockdown of the Denver offense in overtime. When the stakes were the highest, the Wolves were at their best, and they delivered a game that fans will never forget.